The Blight of Evil
Evil is a powerful corrupting force. Even the most pious paladin may remain entirely virtuous in her actions and even her thoughts, only to have her body and soul erode through long years of struggle against the forces of evil. True heroes refuse to allow the blight of evil to spread, warding it off through magic or penance. Sometimes, however, even the most well-intentioned individual ends up embracing the blight within them, using it to increase their physical or mental power.
You may acquire blight by entering a place suffused with evil, by coming into contact with a horribly evil object, through the attacks of certain monsters, and by performing evil acts. This blight can manifest physically, in which case it is called corruption, or mentally, in which case it is called depravity.
Corruption manifests as physical symptoms: muscular degeneration, illness, frailty, and the like. As corruption increases, these symptoms may become more severe. The ultimate result of unchecked and untreated physical corruption is death or potentially the damnation of undeath.
Depravity manifests as mental symptoms: growing paranoia, visual and auditory hallucinations, and other problems that could be described as madness. As with corruption, as depravity increases in an individual, these symptoms become more severe. The ultimate result of unchecked and untreated depravity is complete madness.
While it is important to recognize symptoms of blight quickly, it is preferable and easier to treat potential exposure before they manifest in the first place. However, the wise should remember that such symptoms may also arise from more mundane maladies and should not rush to judgment or action based solely on the presence of such symptoms. The truly wise treat the cause, not the effect.
There are natural substances that absorb blight and thus protect those who carry them. Some examples include a pure jade rod the size of a human fi nger, a sheet of vellum prepared from the skin of a month-old lamb, an intricately carved piece of lightning-struck oak, or a silk sash. As the item absorbs blight, it darkens, softens, and gradually rots.
It is possible to remove blight in several ways, including through the use of spells, the performance of good deeds, and cleansing in a sacred spring. Blight cannot be removed unless the blighted individual wants to be cleansed.
The following spells can reduce blight scores when cast outside blighted areas. No character can have a blight score reduced by any particular spell more than once per day, although different spells can reduce blight if cast on the same character in the same day.
- Atonement (Requires a quest and costs the caster xp)
- Heal (Can fully remove blight or reduce if used to finish treatment within 24 hours of exposure)
- Miracle or Wish (Can fully remove blight regardless of the time passed)
- Remove Curse (can reduce depravity)
- Remove Disease (can reduce corruption)
- Restoration (Can fully remove blight if used to finish treatment within 24 hours of exposure)
- Greater Restoration (Can fully remove blight or reduce if used to finish treatment within 24 hours of exposure)
Simple good deeds are not enough to remove blight. An individual wishing to reduce her depravity score through good deeds must undertake a specific ritual under the guidance of one of her deity’s clerics. The ritual prepares the individual to undertake the deed. The good deed must be repeated every day for a week before any effect can be seen. More severe levels of blight may require longer penance.
Cleansing Blighted Places
The Hallow spell can remove blight from an area, but it takes time. The spell must remain intact for an entire year to remove the blight.
Source: Heroes of Horror pp.62-68